Being too busy is not sustainable and does not serve you or your clients. It may even be in the way of you growing your business.
I’ve been there. I founded Productivity Plus with the vision of serving online business owners, and that is exactly what I did….but all the time. There were always more tasks to do – another email to send out, another course to build for a client, another sales page to design. I loved my work, but it was starting to take over my life.
Over time, I managed to take a step back and prioritize things, so I could start acting like a real CEO. I found time to be the high-level visionary of my business instead of just doing the day-to-day tasks.
Maybe you can also relate to having difficulty setting boundaries and stepping away from your work. Perhaps your family and friends are wondering what happened to you, as they feel you are no longer present, just stuck in the weeds of your business.
You do not have to work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week! There is a better way.
The SAP method is a great way to create blank space on your calendar for you to focus on what matters most and drive your business forward. It can help you to do exactly what I did: create time for high-level work and time to be the CEO rather than the implementer of #allthethings.
How to implement the SAP method in your business with an easy 5-step process.
Start by thinking about where you spend your time right now. Where do you see results? Take a few minutes and write down everything you can think of that you’re doing in your business. If you want, you can even take this a step further and actually track your daily tasks over 3 to 5 business days. Yes, this takes time, but you learn soooo much by doing this; it is well worth the exercise.
Now, go through the list you’ve created and write a dollar sign beside each activity that is directly connected to bringing in revenue for the business. This will allow you to determine what really moves your business forward and creates results.
Next, consider how much time you spend on these activities. What do you dread doing because of the amount of time it takes? Go through the list again from top to bottom and put a star beside the activities that you feel are taking too much time or energy. (It’s okay to have both a star and dollar sign on the same activity.)
It’s time to apply the SAP method. Look at the items that have a dollar sign and/or a star and ask yourself if SAP can be applied to any of them:
- S – streamline or automate
- A – assign/appoint
- P – pause for now
Is there any task that has a lot of confusing or difficult steps? Can a task be simplified, or automated?
Do you really need to be the one doing all these tasks? Is there any skill/information you bring to the table, or could you delegate?
A good way to answer both of these questions is to take some time and write out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for your tasks. Making this a habit will take some work on your part, but it will make delegating down the road a lot easier. It will also make the complexity and nuance of the task very apparent.
Finally, think critically about your business. Are all of these tasks really needed to move the business forward, or are some of them just being done because you “think you should”? Be ruthless and honest here. You want to get to the core of what keeps the business going and avoid any unnecessary work. Remember the Pareto principle (commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule): 20% of your efforts will result in 80% of your results.
With the SAP method being fully applied, the last step is to organize your weekly schedule. Get those activities that move the needle forward in your business scheduled into your calendar each week, and allow a realistic amount of time for each one. This will make sure that the highest priority tasks are not missed.
Allow 1 day a week to be ONLY CEO day. Work on high-level tasks that only you as the CEO can do. For example, brainstorm about potential projects that could move you towards your strategic objectives (e.g. increasing revenue or visibility).
If it works for you, group similar tasks together and batch your work. For example, have one day when you mainly film course content, and another day when you write blogs for the week/month.
Go into further detail and carve out your ideal day. Do you work best in the morning or afternoon? If you’re a morning person, have a morning routine and do the hardest work then. If you prefer to do your work later, have a plan in place for getting it all done in the afternoon/evening.
Always do the hardest work first. Mark Twain once said,
Nowhere is this more true than in work and business. Doing harder work first means that you match the load of your day to the way humans naturally tire out.
You can apply this principle to your week as well. Consider working on revenue generating activities first thing in the week, and save less important tasks for later on in the week when you have less steam.
Lastly, ensure you decide on time limits for addictive/recurring tasks like checking DMs or email. Do these only once or twice a day, unless they are an integral part of the high-priority tasks in your business. Set a timer if you have to!!
Have you found any of these suggestions insightful or helpful? Do you want even more ideas and tips on how to increase productivity? Consider checking out my free guide, 35 Ways to Streamline Your Business.